The pavement cracks beneath me. Always so hard, immovable. For it to break… That has to symbolize something, right?
Wish I knew what.
Each breath burns my lungs, caustic atmosphere stinging worn musculature, urging it back to action. I can smell the lactic acid through my pores, on my sweat, in the blood that runs in jagged lines down my arms, drips from the tips of my fingers and bursts within the concrete’s newly-formed cracks.
So prominent is this, so powerful this sensation, that my feet seem numb, legs leaden, nothing but dead weight hanging from creaking joints and a heaving torso. Just the smell, just the taste and the sting.
Just the crack of two knuckles against my ribs, splitting them and crushing the organs behind, expelling air past my teeth. Bile coats my lips, sour and bitter on my tongue. I cough–involuntary–and bring a hand to my chest, wince at the fresh surge of pain.
I see it all: the foot arcing in, the heel snapping down from above, the air distorted around my chin as the two parts collide at odds, dull clatter of bones splintered in my jaw and teeth ripped free of my gums. There’s copper filling my mouth, even as I see it dribble from between lips barely parted, bright red and mixed with clear spit. Something strikes my chest from within, jerks cracked ribs into searing motion, beats again and nearly goes silent, provoking a scrambling fear in a rapidly dimming mind.
The cracks in the pavement widen under my bulk.